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Posts Tagged ‘Vibram Five Fingers Bikila’


I’ve been hearing Sarah Brightman {with Andrea Bocelli} in my head this last week; ya know, because life is a soundtrack and all that jazz.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I hate shopping.  I hate shopping so much I’m seriously thinking about making a category, just so y’all can kvetch with me. Erg.

So anyhow.

June of 2011 brought me to a critical point in my decades of running when, thanks to my chronic illness{s} and my plantar fasciitis, I realized something serious needed to change if I was going to not only walk without pain, but continue running. I spent a boatload of time researching, as I do with all things. I am not prone to leaping into fads, and do what I can to avoid them. By the time I got around to ordering my hobbit feet,  aka Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, I was pretty much at my wits end, and at the end of options to try. Bikila VFFs

I knew there would be a period of time to transition into them full time, which I wrote about. I also promised periodic updates, which I managed to keep up with up to the point we moved. My last post about my VFFs was in May of 2012, when I hit 1,000 miles. I am sad to say, my running tanked when we moved. It was sporadic at best, and it’s taken me over 2 years to log close to another 500 miles. 😯

There has been SO much to do on the farm; not just chickens and horses, but painting the whole house, including doors, windows, and all the miles of moldings. I haven’t gotten a whole lot finished, but I did manage to get the really bad blood spatter painted over. I still have curtains to make for every room but one. And that’s just inside. I have a ton to paint outside, too.u

With Hunny away for work and me basically single-parenting day-to-day, I reached a point where it was time to get back to my running. In many ways, it’s been really tough to have to build my mileage back up. I started at 4 miles and worked my way back up to 5 miles {and some change}. Hah!

I think I’ll prolly have to hold steady through the summer, unless it cools off, because wow. I left late this morning at 7:15 and it was 80 degrees when I got home, with a 90 something % humidity. Coming from the desert, the humidity while running takes some getting used to. I make a point to leave early, but overslept today.

Over the course of the past week, I’ve noticed spots on the bottom of my shoes getting really thin. I am not a fan of gravel, which my road in either direction is, for nearly 1/2 mile in the one direction I regularly go. I had been looking online periodically for my next shoe, and have been extremely disappointed to see that my beloved Bikilas are not made any more. They have the Bikila Lses, which have laces. And then they have the Bikila EVOs, which have a thicker sole and are for folks transitioning into minimalist running shoes. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I briefly thought about turning my Komodosport LSes KomodosportLS into my running shoes, but honestly, I’d rather save them for wearing for the rare occasions I’m not wearing flip flops or boots.

In a mad dash, I got online and ordered what I could find that looked like it would work. I ordered the See Ya Lses from the Vibram website. I was really excited when the See Ya Lses came today. I put them on, and then got really disappointed. seeyalses

Vibram has changed their US sizing. Instead of measuring your foot as before, now they ask you for your shoe size. I don’t know about you, but I notice that with traditional shoes, like clothes, the size is variable to the shoe. Frustrating! 😡

They are too big. Like, by at least a size. I tried them on and wore them around the house. Not only are they too long, but they are too wide. Any Vibram that has the laces are made for slightly wider feet, which I have, but the fit on these was just plain wonky.

Perhaps the most concerning feature was the heel. If you look at the pictures, you can see how the heels on the See Yas are pointy. That part right there is much taller, and digs into the back of my Achilles. I had them on for not even an hour and had a pressure mark on the back of my foot when I took them off. My plan is to return them for a smaller size and see if the right size makes a difference in that part of the fit.

Another thing I had read in some of the reviews, is that because they’re largly mesh {aka, “breathable;” and  is hard to see from these pictures, but is pretty clear on Zappos.com}, folks have said they are not good for winter running unless you wear socks. And we all know what my sock situation is like!

Earlier this eveing, I spent several hours online looking for other Vibram models; thus, my conundrum. I went back to the Vibram website to see what else they had. Right now it’s slim pickins’ because they just had a huge sale and are out of stock on numerous models. After hunting for hours, I ordered another pair from Zappos.

The Vibram KMD Sport Lses are, as near as I can figure, the updated version of the Komodo Sport Lses. kmdsportls How ironic is that?! I figure, if I still don’t like the fit of the See Ya Lses, I can send them back. If I like them, I can wear the KMDs during the colder months if I don’t want to wear socks. At the very least, they have the notched heel like I’m used to, with a bit of cushioning there, too. And, if I love the See Ya Lses, I can hang onto the KMDs and wear them when the others need to be replaced.

Of additional concern are the reviews that say all of these models wear out quickly. We’ll see.

My original Bikilas, as I mentioned, have lasted just over 1,425 miles. By the time the others get here, it will be close to or over 1,500.

1426miles.2

 

1426miles1

The foot bed in the right shoe has started to rip, and in that same shoe, the whole foot bed is wrinkly because the adhesive is shot. The upside is that it didn’t really bother me. Two days ago, I ran the last mile with what I thought was a pebble in one of the toes, only to discover it was actually a little black beetle that was still alive!

And then today, the gravel got me hard in the middle of my foot.  rockSeeing as that is not part of the foot that generally comes into hard contact with the road, you can tell I was distracted by one of the dogs who I to run back to the house because, as a border collie, she wants to run circles around the cars that pass us on the road. :/

So, as much as I hate to, it’s time to say goodbye. I am hopeful that I actually can find another pair of VFFs that I like as well, and is as well made. There is something really fantastic about not having to change out your running shoes every 300 miles!

Here’s also hoping I can get this song unstuck from my head…. 😆

 

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khznWuH3VTs%5D
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When I got near 100 miles, I ended up going a bit over.  And then I got to thinking, maybe y’all are tired of getting updates every 100 miles, so I thought I would wait until 150 miles.

😆

Total VFF/miles record #6: 153.45

Total yearly miles to date: 706.01

Total VFF miles to date: 397.45

Miles before shoes: 309.56

Lowest mileage (less the race at 6.21 miles)- 3.50: I did this twice- once was the day before the race and then the other when was I was having hip issues.

Normal mileage- 6.75/7 ish.  There were a few times I got a late start and only managed 5; less those two times, everything else was 6.5ish +. (for example, today I did 8.25)

This is around the time when I’d be paying really close attention to my shoes if I hadn’t changed them out already.  I don’t see any end in sight for my VFFs. I’m really pleased that I can increase my mileage without issue, which is huge for me.  There is nothing like setting goals only to be thwarted by pain and/or injury.

This month, I’ll have fewer miles, due to time away and the holidays.  October mileage was 118.5; I’ve only got 84.45 for November.  I hope to hit at least 100, and that should not be a problem, barring something unforseen (knock on wood)

So there you have it. My plan is to do a final update at the end of the year, which would put me around the 150 mark for the next record, give or take.

And, lest you think I’m totally insane for keeping track of this all, I have come to learn that I am in no way unusual in that regard in the running world…..  😆

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Wow!  That was fast! 200 posts already?

😆  I’m good, but not that good.  😆

Remember me saying I would update every 100 miles or so?  Well, I’m at 200.  (Ok, not really- I’m actually at 211 today)  That’s 200 miles in my Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas. In the last week, I’ve added another mile to my sort-of-but-not-really-daily run and I’ve had no additional problems.

Since the nights are getting colder, and there has been a subtle shift in the weather, I’ve noticed an increase in overall hip discomfort, but so far, it’s not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. Most of the time I can sleep without it waking me up, so that is good. Because my strike pattern has settled, I am pretty sure this has been helping the hip(s).

The thing I have noticed is with regard to foot pain. Since I’m not working any more, I’ve spent the vast majority of the time barefoot. Interestingly enough, the days I wear shoes (and I’m still following the “wear heels” advice from my podiatrist for the plantar fasciitis when I’m out doing stuff) are now the days I have pain. And when I’m in them, it is hard not to kick them off when I’m out and about.

When my Komodosport LSes get here tomorrow, I’ll make the switch to VFFs full-time (except maybe for church). Does this mean I have a shoe fetish?  Probably.  😆

When you spend that many years in that kind of debilitating pain and then you find relief, it makes you loathe to go back to the days of crawling in the afternoons evening. I used to never care about shoes; I could wear whatever. Then I was on the quest to find heels that wouldn’t kill me via foot pain or tripping and breaking my neck.

So there you have it. I’m totally, completely addicted to Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

Fortunately for you, I will not be giving updates on my every-day wearing of my funky shoes.  😆

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I am now in my VFF Bikilas full-time. Total daily mileage (for the days I run) is 5 miles, but this week had me contemplating whether or not it’s time to start adding to my distance.  I was pushed for time this week, so I opted not to.  Next week, though, is another week, and I may accidentally increase my distance.

Total miles since getting VFFs: 202.5 

Total VFF miles: 138

Total days running in VFFs: 41

First day to run all in VFFs:  day 34 (I probably could have done this on day 33, but because I had 3/4 miles “left over,” I figured I could add just 1/4 mile that one day to even things out.)

First day running in VFFs: May 31, 2011  

First day running 100% in VFFs: August 26, 2011

FWIW.  😆

Summary: I will likely never own another kind of running shoe. EVER. My foot pain is not entirely gone; my Achille’s tendon in the one foot stays a wee little bit tight/sore, but as long as I make the point to stretch it frequently, it is not problematic or prohibitive.  In fact, the last several days, it has not bothered me at all while running.

Foot pain (plantar fasciitis) has not resolved.  It’s significantly better, though, and I think that’s encouraging.

Hip pain– I have days when it flares and is quite painful, or wakes me up when I’m sleeping.  Overall, though, this is also significantly better than even a few months ago.

Observations:

  • Now that I’m in my VFF Bikilas full-time, I only have a few “complaints.” On the inside arch of both feet, it seems the seam of the shoe is mildly irritating.  This doesn’t bother me at all when running, but I do some red marks of irritation.
  • I am very glad these are washable. I am planning on working on them this weekend and hoping I can get the sole back to 100% white.  I wish the inside of the shoe was another color.
  • Hunny still thinks they are really ugly.  I disagree. 😉

I am pretty sure that the next pair I’m going to get are going to be the Bikila LS (for Lace System), but am still researching.  Given that I only have 140 miles (give or take) on this pair,it will probably be a really long while.  I’d be replacing my other shoes soon. I will still update; but may do that in 100 mile intervals.

For those interested in a bit more detail, the log is below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Day 32 – ran 4.5 in VFFs, a little more soreness in L Achilles tendon; but not too bad overall; just really hot and tired today.

Day 33-  ran 4.75 in VFFs; things feel pretty good; some initial soreness until I warmed up.

Day 34- ran all 5 in VFFs; best time to date so things are finally feeling pretty good.

Day 35- ran all in VFFs; tired today and could not push through it

Day 36- ran/jogged all in VFFs; some strain in Achilles tendon when warming up; felt ok after 1/2 mile or so; quite tired today; allergies going

Day 37- ran all; Some initial soreness in Achilles, but fine once warmed up.

Day 38- ran all; felt R calf tightness a little; some initial tightness in L Achilles; did not push much today.

Day 39; – ran all; R calf tight; feet have been sore over the weekend; marginal tightness in L Achilles

Day 40; –ran all; got a late start and didn’t stretch a whole lot; wonder how that will go; things felt pretty good, but didn’t eat early enough

Day 41-ran all; legs/feet are pretty good today- all best times are this week, even though tired and not feeling like I can push much

Weekly totals:

VFF miles: 15

Total Miles: 15

Total VFF miles this record: 49.25

Total miles for this record: 50

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I’ve long been an Asics girl when it came to running shoes.  I appreciate shoes that are lightweight and breathable. That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind and see what I could find to help my foot pain issues.

What I found surprised me. After significant research and despite not having a local store to go to and try on a pair, I took the plunge and ordered my next pair of running shoes online.

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.  Hobbit Feet.  😆

A big selling point was getting back to a natural running strike pattern, which changes the way your feet land when you run.  Why is this a big deal? If you have plantar fasciitis like I have (in both feet, although one is worse than the other) and get tired of literally crawling on your hands and knees at times, getting relief is A Very Big Deal.

Another big selling point is that unlike traditional shoes, you don’t need to replace them after 300 miles.  These you can literally wear out.  And, you can throw them in the washing machine (air dry), which is another huge perk.

Not running has not been an acceptable solution, nor does it actually do anything for the problem.  I’ve taken extended breaks from running; I’ve had RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) up to my ears with no relief.  In fact, when the symptoms first appeared, I wasn’t doing any running (this was the onset debilitating illness symptoms) and assumed it was all disease related.  And it still may be.

I have moved on to treating symptoms, so finding a good running shoe for heel and foot pain was part of that natural progression. Throwing caution to the wind (it can’t get worse!), and discovering I don’t actually have a ruler in my house to measure my feet (using other methods to determine length), I ordered online, hoping that my feet and toes wouldn’t be too swollen to actually get into the shoes.

One of the things I noticed while researching was a lack of good (detailed) chronicling the transition to these shoes. I wanted to know what to expect, given the disclaimers that calf muscles would need time to adjust, and to take the transition slow.  Everyone said so, but there was scant information as to what someone could expect- really expect- when starting. If you’re still reading, feel free to check out here unless you want details.  😀 I’m going to periodically post updates on progress.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Distance Summary: 10 days wearing shoes; 50 total miles. Total daily distance (changing shoes) : 5 miles

VFF miles: 19.25

Heel pain level: low- HUGE improvement

Other pain:  might have some extensor tendonitis; likely caused by pressure from the top of the shoe- read log to see when/how this cropped up. If this is extensor tendonitis, it’s not in the traditional place, but this is more likely something caused by where the shoe rests, even though I have not had a tight velcro strap.

Pain Summary: Shoe blister (ball of one foot) has resolved; heel pain minimal (best it’s been in years); watching top of foot pain which is relieved when foot cracks; stretching before, after, and throughout the day is hugely helpful; is marginally tender when pressing on that spot. Still need to do a lot of stretching before supta virasana is not painful; really have to ease into it with the one foot.

Conclusion: Go slow.  Really.  😆  Slower speeds are better when getting used to these. Pay attention to the recommendations.  I did significantly more than the recommeded 10%.  I also run more than one day in a row, but feel that compensating with slower speeds and shorter distances are adequate, given my propensity for being barefoot much of the time anyhow long in advance of getting these shoes.  Honor the way you feel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday; Day 1total 1.5 miles; walked ¼ to warm-up- felt good overall; could feel the pull in R calf around 1.25; although I’ve had knots in that calf off and on for thelast two weeks.  Felt strange changing back to shoes mid-stream. (Tuesday after Memorial Day; hoping for 4 days this week depending on how I feel after using these shoes.  Sensation getting on the treadmill was pretty bizarre, but then the weirdest was going back into the other shoes and finishing the workout.

Wednesday; Day 2– total 2 miles; walked ¼ and slower on additional ½ mile; R calf a bit sore as usual; L calf had the relatively normal shooting pain a little bit towards the end of the run; not prohibitive; both heels were pretty sore last night, but not as bad as they have been in the past; took Tylenol (for headache) but nothing else for pain.

Blister on bottom of right foot after run- think I may have had a sock wedged in there. Legs are getting sore when not moving around. Will probably take something at bedtime just to be safe.

Some archish/top foot pain while doing supta virasana.  

Thursday; Day 3- total 3 miles; walked ¼; speed better today.  Could feel blister on the bottom of foot, but not too bad; was MUCH worse in the regular shoe.  Dreaded putting regular shoes back on, and the R heel pain was noticeably worse in Asics.  REALLY looking forward to not having to change shoe.

When putting VFFs on this morning, outer toes were feeling a bit numb, particular toes 4 and 5 each foot- feet are a bit more swollen today, so that might be partly why.

Monday; Day 4- total 5 miles; walked 1; slower times.  Determined blister on ball of R foot was from the shoes; no issue with it today during run.  Top of L foot; however, is pretty sore; somewhere after mile 3.  Too much too soon? Will have to wait and see how it feels as the day progresses, and tomorrow.  Plan for tomorrow is to change shoes during if there is discomfort. 

From what I have read, the TOFP is a result of either doing too much too  soon OR from a ball strike only and not having contact with the heel.  I’m going to see if I can’t change to a mid strike tomorrow or at least try flat footed and see what happens.  I will say that I have not had this little heel pain in years, so that is encouraging.  Zero calf pain since Friday; some tightness on Thursday.

Afternoon- pain remains.  Seems to be a bruised /very sore spot on the top of my foot, more at the base of my leg.  I don’t know that this is a toe thing, since they feel fine.  Definitely taking it easy.  At this point, walking at all is painful, so I don’t know if I can do anything tomorrow.  Boo. 😦 Ice; stretch foot; ankle brace overnight; hurts even to wiggle my toes; extremely painful; have a really hard time walking in afternoon; completely unable to crack foot. Tuesday was better but still pretty painful. Also took Wednesday off due to pain. Foot was starting to crack again on Tuesday; more so on Wed. Stayed on ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory.

Thursday; Day 5- total only ½ in VFFs due to top of foot injury L foot; moderate pain throughout; wondering now if it could be where the top of the shoe ends on foot; pain was less intense in regular shoe, but R heel was starting to hurt since I was putting more pressure on R side. 

Friday; Day 6- total 1 mile in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot; taking it slower in the feet; R heel was more painful. I have to think this is some sort of muscle thing in the top of the foot, or where the shoe edge is putting pressure. Have been doing a lot of stretching on the top of foot, and it is sore and painful initially until it stretches. 

Monday; Day 7- total ran 1.5 miles in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot, although the top of foot was able to crack a few times during run; went slower so as not to delay recovery; still needing to stretch foot quite a bit all throughout the day; continue trying to go barefoot as much as possible.

Tuesday; Day 8 – total ran all 1.25 in VFFs very slowly; stopped short because of the pain in foot and transferred to other shoes; ended up with quite a considerable bit of pain and spent a good bit of time in the evening icing; R heel was also quite sore today. Ibuprofen at bedtime to help with the throbbing.

Wednesday; Day 9 – total 1.5 in VFFs; walked first ¼; had decided yesterday not to use them today, so I started slowly to see how my foot was feeling. LOTS and lots of foot cracking while running; and boy, does that feel good!  My foot has not been cracking when getting up in morning and after long periods of time off of it as it usually does, so this always feel sooooo much better when it cracks and settles. 

Thursday; Day 10- total 2 in VFFs, pushed a wee little bit more today, so we’ll see how I end up feeling- 50 miles total since I got the VFFs; 19.25 miles in them; foot did a bit of cracking during run, which always feels so much better; working on my stride so I can build on time and distance; still doing *a lot* of stretching the top of the L foot; also calf stretches; more hip pain after run yesterday, so back to doing more hip exercises before running; feeling encouraged and can’t wait to cut loose in VFFs without having pain; having to hold back and concentrate on each strike bites and I am *really* looking forward to just running and not constantly having to think about it the entire time. Both feet felt good enough to get back to a 4 day running week; contemplated a fifth, but don’t want my quads to revolt.

I will give updates every 50 miles or so. Please share your experience with me, and stay tuned!

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